By Kristen Seabolt
When you think of fighting cancer or poverty, you don't necessarily think of lacing up your running shoes to do so. But millions of people across the country have been putting in the miles to raise money and awareness for the causes they hold dear.
Besides being good for you, running, walking, swimming, and biking can now make a difference in the lives of others. With the growing popularity of running over the past decade, hundreds of charities have taken to the streets, sponsoring and holding thousands of walk/run events... and have significantly benefited from them.
Every year, charities and non-profits raise millions of dollars through these events for their respective causes. Every year, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure raises at least two million dollars in each location. In January, the Houston Marathon’s Run for a Reason charity program raised more than two million dollars to benefit 52 different charities.
In addition, these events attract participants in significant numbers. Last year, the Right Side Foundation held its 2nd Annual 5K, and more than 500 runners participated in the run. Every year, close to four million take part in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The National MS Society holds 600 MS Walks throughout the year, and more than 8,000 people in Maryland alone participate.
Although walks/runs are a great way help to raise funds, they also help to raise awareness. Last year for example, I ran the Lemon Run in Philadelphia for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. I had never heard of this organization before the race, but I learned through the event that this amazing foundation is in honor of a girl from Pennsylvania who held a lemonade stand in her yard to raise funds for the hospital that was treating her for neuroblastoma. Tragically, Alex passed away when she was eight years old, and her family began the foundation to raise money for childhood cancer. Also, Dean Karnazes, the famous ultra-marathon man, took it upon himself to run 50 Marathons in 50 days to combat childhood obesity and awareness for his “Karno Kids” charity.
Whether it’s a walk, 5K, 10K, triathlon, half-marathon, marathon or an unusual race (such as the Mud Run, Warrior Dash, or Pump & Run), walk/run charity events are an easy and fun way to make a difference in someone’s life. The funds raised in these events are used for research, supplies and for sponsoring various events throughout the year. As a fairly avid runner, I am registered for numerous races throughout 2011, and each one is for a charity organization, such as the Children’s Miracle Network, the Got Your Back Network, the Wounded Warrior Project and Autism Speaks.
So, if you’re looking for a great way to get active this spring, are passionate about a cause, or are simply interested in signing up for a race, why not do it for one of the million amazing organizations out there? Visit the Runner’s World Race Finder to search local events!
Kristen Seabolt is Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at Kristen@MaroonPR.com